Od Power and Politics

1287 Words6 Pages
The OD practitioner needs both knowledge and skill in the arena of organisational power and politics. Warner Burke states “Organisation development signifies change, and for change to occur in an organisation, power must be exercised.” Organisations are made up of many different power elements; different interest groups, divisions with functional agendas, coalitions of special interests, the exercise of managerial power and various aspects of political behaviour exercised by individuals, teams and groups. OD examines power and politics from the perspectives of strategy of change, technology, values interventions and the role of the OD practitioner. With power so inherent in the make-up of an organisation it is important that the OD practitioner who is embarking on an OD programme understands what power exists, who holds the power and also the way in which power is used to influence the workings of the organisation. Power can be defined as the capacity to affect organisational outcomes. The act of getting one’s way in a social situation can be define as interpersonal power. Power in action can be seen as either positive or negative. Positive use of power would be in the form of leading, influencing, selling and persuading while negative use of power would be crushing, forcing, hurting and coercing. Organisations are striving towards implementation use of positive use of power in their decision making process through means of problem solving rather than coercive tactics to achieve organisation effectiveness and obtaining the organisation’s vision, mission, goals and objectives. The strategic-contingency model of power asserts that power in organisations accrues to the subunits (individuals, units, departments) most important for solving the organisation’s most critical problems. Most of these problems are uncertainties of the environment thus those in strategic
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